Development update: River Station lawsuit settled

Updated: April 27, 2009 - 9:51 am

A lawsuit alleging faulty construction work at River Station Condominiums in the North Loop is now settled, and approximately $5.3 million in settlement money will help pay for repairs at 560 N. 2nd St.

One-hundred construction workers from Ryan Companies started work in late April to replace all of the windows, repair all of the balconies and replace portions of the facade. The work will continue until November.

The River Station homeowners’ association filed a complaint in February 2007 against the project developer, architect and other subcontractors, alleging that an inadequate weatherproofing system was caused by poor design and faulty construction.  

Gittleman Management Vice President Andy Gittleman said the settlement money won’t cover all of the repair work, and the homeowner’s association will pay the difference to cover the $8 million project.

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The former Nate’s Clothing building at 401 1st Ave. N. will no longer become a boutique office building. Now, the developer wants to build 40 apartments above two lower-level restaurant spaces.

Uppal Enterprises, a suburban housing developer, already had city approval to build an extra sixth floor with a metal exterior. The new plan for rental units triggered a more comprehensive city review process, and the city’s Planning Commission approved the project on April 20.

The commission stated that the project, called the “401 Apartments,” must be finished by April 20, 2010. Renovations in the building are already underway.

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A North Loop lot at 129 Plymouth Ave. N. behind the Star Tribune building could become a site for new retail — something like a Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, according to the developer Steve Minn.

The small site might also feature a dog park, Minn said.

“It’s so close to the neighborhood and so close to the riverfront, we’re going to put a little dog park there and see if it doesn’t attract the folks who are walking the dog to come by and come over and get a treat,” Minn said.

He compared the dog park to the one he installed at the Stone Arch Apartments across the river, although the apartment’s dog park is much larger than this new park could be. The park would likely have a crushed granite surface, and might include a fake fire hydrant or benches.

The land is currently owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

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City staff were prepared to demolish a vacant house at 816 Park Ave. S., but the property owner beat them to the punch.

The house came down this spring, and the land will remain in the owners’ hands.

Tom Deegan of Minneapolis’ Problem Properties Unit said the owner must now seed over the site, cut the grass and keep the property clean.

816 Park was one of 50 properties that the city was working to demolish, and it was the only Downtown property the city flagged for demolition last year.

The city wanted to take down the house because of its rundown condition, Deegan said.

The landowner could not be reached for comment.

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Ever wonder what happened to the Loring Park Condominiums that were supposed to abut the Eitel Apartments on the edge of the park?

Magellan Development still holds the rights to develop the property at 1368 LaSalle Ave., and Magellan Vice President Brian Gordon said the company received a yearlong extension from the city last summer. However, Magellan had no progress to report in terms of developing the property.

Next door at the Eitel Apartments, a sit-down restaurant tenant is working to move in to the ground floor. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant would be called Birch’s On Loring Park, and a representative from the Eitel Apartments will discuss the plans with Loring Park residents on April 27. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Loring Park Office Building, 430 Oak Grove St.

Reach Michelle Bruch at 436-4372 or mbruch@mnpubs.com.